HOMOSASSA, Fla., April 26 (UPI) -- Florida authorities have arrested a mother of five and her live-in boyfriend on charges of starving and torturing one of her children.
Police said Crystal Jean Ciampa of Homosassa, Fla., is accused of locking her five-year-old son in a closet where he was forced to drink his own urine and eat his own feces, The St. Petersburg Times reported Tuesday.
Ciampa and her boyfriend, Joshua Louis Heater, 26, were arrested by Citrus County sheriff's deputies last week on charges of aggravated child abuse, child neglect and tampering with a witness.
Her five children, fathered by three different men, were removed in February.
Authorities said Ciampa is accused of abusing only the one child who she said reminded her of her ex-husband.
Neighbors told police she once forced the boy to stand outside in 30-degree temperatures dressed only in his underwear.
Investigators said the couple burned him with a cigarette lighter, sliced his hands with a plastic cake cutter and once beat him so badly that his body was covered with 42 bruises.
Citrus County authorities have been receiving abuse reports since 2009 but every time they investigated the boy refused to talk or blamed an older sibling.
Investigators said they never had enough evidence to file charges until mid-February.